Is Oatmeal the FDA's Poster Child?


Bowl of Oatmeal and Fresh Fruit

When shopping for groceries, do the health claims on product labels sway your purchasing decisions? For those attempting to eat real, healthy foods, these claims can be extremely informative and helpful. Interestingly, the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, awarded the first food-specific, health claim to a product many people regularly stock on their pantry shelves, Quaker oatmeal. The claim informed consumers that a low-fat diet rich in oatmeal might decrease the risk of heart disease. 

Fortunately for Quaker, this declaration of the potential health benefits of oatmeal increased slumping sales of their products. Through the years, other foods, such as orange juice, have been awarded permission to include FDA approved health claims on their labels. However, oatmeal may still be considered the FDA’s poster child. Research suggests eating oatmeal may help to lower people’s LDL, bad, cholesterol by an average of 7 percent. This hearty, breakfast classic is also packed with filling fiber. Besides helping you feel full longer, fiber may also help you prevent constipation and control blood sugar levels.

Shopping for the right type of oatmeal can be tricky. Unfortunately, all brands and varieties of oatmeal lining supermarket shelves aren’t healthy. Instant, oatmeal packets are often filled with harmful, added sugars and sodium. While you’ll need to cook them longer, rolled and steel oats are better choices than instant ones. Because they’re plain, you can control the ingredients you add to rolled and steel oats. Some delicious, healthy toppings to try include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Raisons
  • Dried cranberries
  • Walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas

If you’re following a gluten-free diet, shop for oats that are certified gluten-free. Oats don’t naturally contain gluten. However, when they are processed at a plant where other products consisting of gluten are manufactured, oats can become tainted with this substance. If you’re interested in incorporating oatmeal and other real, healthy foods into your diet, consider making an appointment with a consultant at a Metabolic Research Center near you.

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